Ffion Bartley

Teach Enrich Empower

My Italian Adventure

Before I completed my TEFL, I  was working in London in strategy and project management, first at a payments company and then at a wine brokers. I wasn’t really satisfied and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in my work.

I had done some teaching previously – my first job after graduating was working with young offenders – and I had always felt a pull to go back to it.

I signed up for The TEFL Academy’s 120-hour TEFL course. I joined the face-to-face part of the course in Cardiff, along with my mother, which was really fun. The instructor was a real font of knowledge and clearly an excellent teacher. He made sure we were up on our feet, moving around the room, and engaging in lively discussions. This is something I have since tried to adopt in my own teaching.

After gaining my TEFL certificate, I began the process of applying to jobs in Italy. It didn’t take long! The Language Grid was the first company that I applied to in summer 2014 and I have been working with them ever since. It was a bit of a whirlwind. I flew over for my interview and within a month I had packed up my car and driven down to Rome! Before you say it – yes, driving an English car through the Roman traffic wasn’t perhaps my greatest idea, but it was an adventure!

“After gaining my TEFL certificate, I began the process of applying to jobs in Italy. It didn’t take long!”

I started working as a business English trainer. I’d worked in corporate settings previously so the office environment wasn’t daunting, however, I did worry about the gaps in my teaching know-how. Thankfully, I was given a huge amount of training and support, including an induction week including 1-2-1 training and observations of experienced trainers teaching. Before I knew it I had grown in confidence and, after two years at the company, I was promoted to senior trainer. It was incredibly rewarding being able to pass on my new-found knowledge to other trainers. Two years later, having decided to undertake an MSc in Human Resource Management and Training, I have been promoted to Training and Development Manager.

I now deal with recruitment and I’ve interviewed so many trainers who have horror stories of companies withholding pay, or expecting them to travel or carry out lesson preparation in their own time. My advice for someone wanting to teach English overseas is firstly to find a reputable company that aligns with your values. Teaching is hugely rewarding but it’s also hard work, so it’s important to find a school that values its trainers and will invest in their professional development. Secondly, don’t worry if you’re nervous the first time you walk into a classroom. You can fake it until you make it, as long as you present a positive, motivated and confident front to students.

I can honestly say that gaining my TEFL qualification changed my life. I can’t recommend it enough!

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